Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Westwood Wellness Center?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 20, 2013


To continue the theme of marketing my practice, I know imagine a name change to “Westwood Wellness Center”. I like the alliteration, but beyond that, the word center, seems so grandiose. The word “wellness” is also troubling. On the one hand, I do promote wellness, and I do appreciate the shift away from psychopathology towards improving the quality of life. A person does not have to be “sick” to seek wellness. I appreciate that concept and have felt, since medical school, that helping patients improve the quality of their life, is an essential part of medical education.  Most people are not ‘sick” but they suffer in their inability to enjoy life in the deepest possible way. In the DSM II days, they called this neurosis. In light of the ways in which we all mess up our own lives, promoting wellness is a way to promote living with less neurotic tendencies. The cheap guy who bemoans the fact that he cannot buy things for himself could come to learn to understand his withholding nature which leads to a perpetual sense of deprivation-self-induced! . This fictional “cheap guy” does not have a DSM 5 illness, but he does suffer from chronic feelings of coldness and rigidity. Would this fictional ‘cheap guy” be drawn to a “wellness center” or a “psychiatric practice” or does it not matter since the “cheap guy” is not going to pay to help himself? On the other hand, a “wellness center” implies a fad-like approach to the latest ill. The trendiness of the name concerns me, as it promotes a superficial sounding approach to some very deep-seated issues. On balance, given the pros and cons, I do like the word, wellness. Perhaps I can change my practice from ‘Shirah Vollmer MD’ to ‘Westwood Wellness,” leaving out the word “center” and creating a staff of one, me. I could be “Westwood Wellness” and have this be the evidence of my practice’s mid-life crisis. I transition from the old-fashioned solo psychiatric practitioner to the more modern psychiatrist who wants people to deeply care about their minds and their bodies. The method does not change, but the packaging does. I am liking it.

9 Responses to “Westwood Wellness Center?”

  1. Jon said

    Great! I can come to the Westwood Wellness Center to deal with some “wellness issues” – gout and kidney stone prevention, loss of stamina in my aerobic exercise – just to name a few silly but apt examples. Despite the alluring alliteration, I advise thinking again before dipping into a wishing well of Westwood names.

    So, I repeat my question of the last post. So, do you want to increase your visibility? If you see no need to increase, now or in the short-term or mid-term future, then why make the change? You responded that you were being dreamy. Well, in the words of Aerosmith – Dream On.

    • Do I want to increase my visibility? You ask. Yes is the short answer. The longer answer speaks to why I want that, and for that, I will leave for another time.

  2. mimi said

    i’m happy to give my opinion!! let’s talk but I don’t like the word “center” for a private practice – feels deceptive. but let’s talk!

  3. Shelly said

    Wellness is very trendy these days. However, if you don’t teach people how to enjoy their “free time,” then they won’t. It’s fine for doctors to tell their patients that they need to get more exercise, relax more, learn to control their sugar intake, but patients simply don’t know how to do it. They need the tools to accomplish these things. For example, I am well aware that I don’t know how to relax. I suffer from alot of stress and have the typical stress-related physical ills that go along with it. My doctor tells me that I need to relax more, but I haven’t a clue where to start!!! To me, doing fun things in my non-existent free time seems like wasted time, even though I know that this is not the case. That is the reason why I thought that a Wellness Center in which you could offer yoga classes, nutrition counseling, stress-reduction training, etc… would be very helpful to your patients. I am sure you tell these things to your patients all the time, but perhaps, like me, they haven’t a clue where to start!

    • Yes, having multiple activities in one building, psychotherapy, nutrition counseling, yoga classes can facilitate wellness. This center becomes like a community center, where one looks forward to seeing friends and doing fun activities.

      As far as learning how to relax, I agree that many people, like you, need to learn this skill from the ground up. Relaxation was never integrated into family life, such that adulthood brings the challenge of learning a skill, that the fortunate have learned early in their lives. First, as you say, you need to schedule the time to relax. There is no way to relax if you don’t have time to do that. Second, you have to experiment with activities which might give you a sense of calm. Try yoga, walking, meditating, coffee with friends and check in with yourself about how you feel after these activities. If you tend to feel more relaxed then slowly you will accumulate multiple ways in which you can calm your mind. Now, returning to the issue of time, like eating, and taking care of your family, relaxation must become a priority, even if you begin with one hour per month and then slowly add on.

  4. Ashana M said

    There is, unfortunately, already a Westwood Wellness Center, so I’m afraid that name would just be confusing.

    You focus on psychoanalysis. Perhaps that should be in the title? Or is that too limiting…

  5. Hi you have a user friendly site It was very easy to post it’s nice

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